Saturday, August 27, 2016
Brunei - Brunei hosts the 11th SOMHD Meeting
Dr Hajah Maslina binti Haji Mohsin, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the Ministry of Health chairing the 11th Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development.
IN AN effort to strive for greater health coverage and addressing issues across the region, some 100 senior health officials from the Asean member countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea are currently in the country to discuss health-related issues and cooperation in the 11th Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development (SOMHD), held from August 9-11.
A press release from the Ministry of Health (MoH) stated that the SOMHD meetings are held annually and aim to assess the implementation of the mission outlined in previous SOMHD meetings. It also focusses on implementing activities, commitments and joint statements that is to be highlighted at the Asean Health Ministers Meeting (AHMM), which is held every two years.
The 11th SOMHD Meeting yesterday commenced with the handing over of the chairmanship from Vietnam to Brunei Darussalam who will be the host country for the 2017 AHMM.
In an opening statement, Dr Hajah Maslina binti Haji Mohsin, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH stressed upon the need for the countries involved to continue working together to address health-related challenges faced by the region, and to ensure the outcome of the SOMHD meeting are in line with the Asean Health Development Agendas in 2015 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In the speech she highlighted that, as a region, “we have made rapid improvements to the health and wellbeing of our people” but that “despite this, we continue to face challenge”.
“The dramatic rise in non-communicable diseases in particular has become an emerging threat in our region.”
The SOMHD meeting centres on discussing health agendas concerning the Asean region and its planned activities towards achieving the objectives of the Asean Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint agreed by the Asean leaders.
She said that as a group, the member countries of the meeting have been taking stock of the region’s progress, and through the Post-2015 Health Development Agenda, the region has identified a way forward to meet new challenges which have emerged.
“Today, knowledge of the essential requirements needed to improve and promote health and to control and eradicate diseases is not lacking.
“However, operationalising these principles into a successful integrated programme that is well-resourced, multi-sectoral, sustainable and has the cooperation of the public calls for innovative approaches, particularly at a time when financial resources are stretched and the funding pool becomes more limited,” she said.
This year’s SOMHD meeting will discuss four main agendas: Promoting healthy lifestyles, responding to all hazards and emerging threats, strengthening health systems and access to care and ensuring food safety.
The MoH, in its press release, said these discussions are highly relevant for the country as it is well-aligned and strongly supports its three strategic priorities, namely: Inculcating the message of ‘health is everyone’s business’, prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, and to deliver excellence through consolidation and realignment of healthcare services in the country.
The ministry further said that Brunei Darussalam will play an important role within the next two years in steering the SOMHD meeting towards valuable outcomes that improve the health and wellbeing of all in the country and region.
“Let us not waste this opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of the 625 million people living in this region,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, a working dinner held on Monday at The Rizqun International Hotel was attended by the meeting’s heads of delegation to discuss and assess the issues that will be highlighted in the 11th SOMHD Meeting.